Maintaining Olathe School District’s top-notch status during a turbulent economic climate is the top priority for the candidates running for the school board in the spring primary.
Scott Enge, Joe Beveridge, Robyn Essex and Elizabeth Howerton are running for the Position 7 at-large seat on March 3. The top two vote-getters will meet in the spring general election April 7.
Enge, a former educator with 32 years in the field, says
his experience will serve the school board well. Improving the district’s funding and vision of continuous student achievement will be his main priorities, he told The Star.
“Funding is an ongoing and critical issue,” he said. “I have written an alternative proposal to an existing statute that I believe will greatly help our state funding problems.”
Enge’s plan is to offer retirement to teachers eligible and then re-hire them back in their same positions at a lower rate; they’d get retirement pay and the district would save money.
The issue weighs heavily on his opponents as well.
Beveridge, who serves on numerous committees, is concerned about budget cuts. He said that retaining staff and programs, which have the greatest impact on learning, should be the board’s top priority.
If elected, he said, he plans on being in dialogue with state legislators to make sure they know the impact additional cuts will make.
“With my education, business experience, entrepreneurial energy and passion for the community, I am excited to offer my skills to help the district navigate the rocky waters ahead,” Beveridge said.
For Essex, a seat on the board means being a voice for those who feel they don’t have one.
“I have mentored our youth for twenty years,” she said. “I see what they are struggling with, what they are excited about and what their hopes and dreams are. I hear from families about the issues they are facing today.”
She says the district’s biggest challenge is to make sure it is meeting the needs of its diverse student population, which includes everyone from the poor to children with special needs.
If elected, she said, she will do her best to make sure the district continues to hire quality teachers and coaches. She also wants to see the district be innovative.
Howerton did not respond to The Star’s request for an interview.
Education: Master’s in education; certified in building administration
Elected experience: None
Education: Bachelor’s in biology and environmental studies, University of Kansas; master’s in biology, University of Nebraska at Omaha
Occupation: Self-employed, president of Solid Ground Environmental LLC
Elected Experience: None
Education: Bachelor’s in business administration with a minor in psychology from MidAmerica Nazarene University.
Occupation: Stay-at-home mother; former preschool teacher and corporate trainer/educator
Elected Experience: Precinct committeewoman, 3rd District Delegate, state delegate